Monday, November 16, 2009

There they go again

November 16, 2009, 4:16 pm
G.O.P. Senator Supports a Filibuster for Judicial Nominee

Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Monday that he would support a filibuster on Tuesday in an effort to block an up-or-down vote on confirming David F. Hamilton to be a federal appeals court judge.

Mr. Sessions also said that a filibuster attempt is not likely to succeed in blocking a confirmation vote on Mr. Hamilton, who has the support of at least one Republican – Senator Richard Lugar, who is from Mr. Hamilton’s home state of Indiana and planned a floor speech endorsing the nominee Monday afternoon.

But, Mr. Sessions said, he believed that Mr. Hamilton presented “extraordinary circumstances” that made him worthy of a filibuster, citing rulings Mr. Hamilton has made as a district court judge striking down one part of an “informed consent” abortion law and sectarian prayers at the Indiana legislature. A procedural vote could come as early as Tuesday on the judge’s nomination to sit on the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court.

Like many Republicans, Mr. Sessions strongly opposed Democrats’ use of filibusters to block confirmation votes on several of former President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees, saying that the Constitution requires only a majority vote – not the 60 votes required to stop a filibuster – to approve judges.

But, Mr. Sessions told reporters on Monday, that principle no longer applies because Democrats altered the Senate’s traditions during the Bush administration.

“I think the rules have changed,” Mr. Sessions said.

Under the new rules, Mr. Sessions said, most of the time if senators do not like a judicial nominee, they should merely vote against confirming the nominee. But if senators think that a nominee presents “extraordinary circumstances,” then it is acceptable for them to try to block a confirmation


Of course, he conveniently overlooks the fact that the Republicans blocked many of Clinton's appointees.

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